The Five-Year Engagement
Co-written by Jason Segel and produced by Judd Apatow, there is an endless list of expectations one can have for The Five Year Engagement, but comparing it to the likes of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bridesmaids, and Superbad isn’t a good idea because it isn’t on the same comedic level as any of them. The Five Year Engagement follows the story of Tom and Violet, who are a couple living in San Francisco who have an extensive array of obstacles in the way of their nuptials. It is a story that tries to be both comical and serious, but isn’t talented at mixing the two harmoniously.
The central conflict offers a commentary on modern relationships and all of the difficulties that arise when both partners are ambitious. In this case, Tom makes the sacrifice by giving up his Sous Chef job and moving to Michigan where Violet has been accepted to a post-doctorate psychology program. Tom quickly realizes maintaining a high-profile culinary position will be difficult, and can only find work at a deli. He quickly becomes miserable and eventually decides to lose himself in the entire culture, becoming a mountain-man equipped with a grizzly beard, crossbow, and an obsession for killing all of the food they consume. Meanwhile, Violet is flourishing at her program and couldn’t be happier, which leads to her fellowship being extended, along withTom’s inner turmoil.
The dynamic between Segel and Blunt is dynamic is enticing and believable, and they seem like a couple you would actually know, and want to know, in your own life. All of the supporting actors - Tom and Violet’s parents, Violet’s psychology colleagues (Including Mindy Kaling and Kevin Hart), and Tom’s eccentric Michigan friends - collaboratively improve the quality of what you’re watching.
The relationship carried out by Alex, Tom’s dopey best friend and Suzie, Violet’s sister, is the antithesis of their own, because it is effortless. Tom and Violet are in the constant search for the perfect moment and the perfect relationship. While Alex and Suzie are less put-together, (because of their relationship consists of a one-night-stand-turned-accidental-pregnancy-turned overnight-marriage) they actually have a better understanding of what love means. They fully embrace the need to make sacrifices and compromises in order that the relationship can work.
The biggest problem with The Five Year Engagement is its length. It has a run time of 124 minutes and all of the constant evolutions in the various dynamics make you feel every minute of it. The twists and turns occur in an effort to emotionally immerse you, but it just makes it harder to invest because you can’t keep up, and you’re irritated to be given the run-around.
Classically funny Apatow moments are what make the film worth seeing: Alex presenting a slide show of all of Tom’s past lovers to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and emotively crooning a Spanish love song to Suzie at their wedding; Tom blatantly faking an orgasm; Violet and Suzie hashing it out about their relationships while using Cookie Monster and Elmo voices at the request of Suzie’s daughter. The rest is just white noise a good portion of the time.
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